Rustic Sausage & Cheese Pasta Bake

This easy-to-make dinner classic loaded with sausage, pasta and melted local cheese is one of those recipes you’ll make again and again. This recipe is from the 2022 Milk Calendar.

Prep Time

15 min

Cook Time

45 min

Total Time

1 hr


  • small baking pan
  • pot
  • saucepan
  • whisk or fork


  • 12 oz (375 g) mild or hot Italian sausage
  • 4 cups (1 L) dried rigatoni or penne pasta (about 10 oz)
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (500 mL) 2% milk
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste
  • 2 cups (500 mL) shredded local fontina or provolone cheese, divided
  • 1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tbsp (3045 mL) grated fresh local Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Place sausages in a small baking pan and roast for about 20 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Let cool slightly and slice. Leave oven on.
  2. Meanwhile, in a pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta for about 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain and return to pot; add 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the butter and stir to coat.
  3. Add remaining butter to a saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook, stirring for about 3 minutes or until softened. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes or until starting to bubble and thicken. Whisk in tomato paste until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) of the cheese until melted. Stir in peas. Add cheese sauce to pasta along with sliced sausages and stir to combine.
  4. Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle top with remaining fontina, Parmesan cheese and parsley. Place in oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until bubbly and light golden on top.